Ten Things On Tuesday…

(1) No, I haven’t died or dropped off the face of the earth.  I’ve just been trying to get through the days, one at a time.  Some days are better than others, but there haven’t been any good days [with my back] for about a week.  I’m assuming it’s because the Prednisone has completely worn off. Bummer.

(2) After going for weeks without any rain, we’ve been experiencing afternoon thunder showers every day–including on the Fourth of July.  Fortunately, I’d planned to have our family ‘picnic’ indoors.  Eventually, before the end of the day, the kids managed to steal a few minutes to play in the rain, and in the swimming pool, but Ed got sprinkled on while doing the grilling.

(3) Some folks in our area got a lot more than a thunder shower on July 4th.  They lost their electricity, for part of the day, and some of the streets, in nearby Savannah, were flooded.  Facebook’s feed was filled with photos of folks floating down the flooded streets on tubes!  I guess that could be classified as “making the best of a bad situation.”

(4) Ed discovered that our one-and-only convenience store was closed on July 4th, when we needed to buy a bag of ice.  So much for convenience…  He had to drive another six miles  just to buy some ice.  You’d think all convenience stores would be open on July 4th, wouldn’t you?

(5) Our youngest son was baptized on the Friday morning before the Fourth of July.  He didn’t let anybody know he was going to do this, other than his wife, and the pastor, of course.  He chose to be baptized the old-fashioned way, in the river. This mother was a little bit disappointed that she missed this special moment in her youngest son’s life, but is happy for him, none-the-less.

(6) Speaking of special moments in one’s life–that same youngest son will turn “30” on this coming Saturday.  Where has the time gone?  It seems like only yesterday he wasn’t much bigger than his son, Evan, who will soon turn two!

Brad's b'day 1

Last year’s birthday celebration

A lot of things have changed since last year’s birthday celebration.  In addition to everyone being another year older, Ed’s retired, both Brad and Jennifer have new jobs, and Brad and Jennifer have moved out of their home in the city and back to our hometown.  None of these changes were expected, last year, with the exception of everyone growing older.

(7) Speaking of special moments and milestones, today is my daughter and her husband’s wedding anniversary!  They were married on a very hot July evening, fourteen years ago.  All anniversaries are special, but, I think, this one just might have a little more meaning to them than some in the past. I wish the two of them many more happy years ahead!

7-8-2010 9;08;54 AM BandC wedding2

July 7, 2001

(8) I received my packet of ‘new patient forms’ [for my neurologist appointment, in two weeks], yesterday.  They’re a bit overwhelming, and it may take me the next two weeks just to get them filled out.  I’ve never had to ‘bubble in’ ovals (with a #2 pencil, no less) on patient information forms before!  I’m both looking forward to and dreading this appointment, all at the same time.

(9) Lately, we’ve been letting our newer flock of hens out to ‘free range’ late in the afternoons.  We give them about an hour, at the end of  each day, to roam out of their pen.  They seem to enjoy this time, and look forward to it very  much.  The two older red hens [who free range all the time] tried to act like bullies, at first, but things seem to be getting better now that it’s been a few days.

(10) It’s been three days since Ed’s seen “Trouble” the cat.  For three days in a row,  she’s been a ‘no show’ at feeding time.  We were sure something had happened to her because, normally, she’s always at the house, waiting to be fed.  Yesterday, we found out that she’s been visiting with our oldest son and his family, again!  He said that his little boys have been feeding her and trying to get her to stay. I hope she does, but I won’t hold my breath!  “Trouble” has a mind of her own.

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Published in: on July 7, 2015 at 8:34 am  Comments (3)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Medical Miracles

It’s been quite a while since I’ve mentioned little Alex, and in case you’ve forgotten him, Alex is the toddler that my daughter babysits.  Alex was born very premature, weighing in at about a pound and a half.  As you can imagine, extreme measures had to be taken to ensure Alex’s survival, and unfortunately, some of those treatments resulted in a severe loss of hearing for him.

When Alex first came to stay with my daughter, he was already almost a year old.  However, Alex was quite small, and was still wearing newborn-sized clothing.  Alex had severe eating issues and wasn’t thriving.  He wore hearing aids in both ears, but it was apparent that he couldn’t hear much, if anything.

To say it’s been an interesting year for my daughter and Alex would be an understatement!  My daughter and Alex bonded quickly.  She became the firm, but patient and loving, force that Alex desperately needed in his life.  Her five-year-old daughter, Madison, and Alex quickly became inseparable, too.  Both are only children, and seem to find comfort and joy in each other’s company.

Madison and Alex, several months ago…

Alex steadily continued to grow and develop throughout the year.  First, by learning  to crawl– and soon he was crawling at a break-neck speed!  Next he walked with a medical walker for a time.  Then Alex learned how to climb the toddler slide, and I happened to witness and film the event.

Not long after learning to climb the slide,  Alex began to take steps on his own, by walking back and forth between my daughter and granddaughter.  By the summer’s end, Alex was not only walking–he was  running–and climbing the bigger slide!

Alex’s eating issues continue to this day, but they are better than they were ten months ago.  My daughter has learned all sorts of tricks to get Alex to successfully eat the pureed foods that his mother sends each day–such as sitting Alex in the kitchen sink while she feeds him!  Water distracts him, plus the sink makes cleanup a lot easier, in the event the food comes hurling back up!  Alex has been growing at a slow, but steady pace.

Earlier this year, Alex’s parents pursued the option of cochlear implants for Alex’s hearing issues.  After having a battery of tests done on Alex, then having him turned down  as a candidate for implants, the parents sought a second opinion from a doctor in a neighboring state.  Fortunately, the second doctor agreed to perform the surgery.

About three weeks ago, little Alex had a cochlear implant put in the first ear.  Alex required several days of healing time before the implant could actually be turned on to see if the surgery was successful.  Finally, the day came when Alex’s implant could be turned on to see if it would work–and it did!  After twenty-one months of silence, little Alex heard his first sounds last Thursday!  What a glorious day for Alex and his family–and for my daughter, too.  She cried when she heard Alex’s good news, and was elated to hear Alex babbling his first sounds while talking with his mom on the telephone.

The volume on Alex’s implant is turned very low, so he can gently get used to sounds.  Each week the volume will be adjusted slightly until it gets within the normal range of hearing.

It’s truly a joy to see how much being able to hear has changed Alex!  Before the surgery, Alex seemed to be in his own little world, but now that he can hear, Alex is gradually becoming immersed in the world around him.  There’s also a little sparkle in Alex’s eyes that wasn’t there before–and it’s a great thing to witness!

Alex today…

In a few weeks, Alex will have surgery on his remaining ear, and the same process will begin all over again.  It will require some patience and work to teach Alex how to talk, but the end results will be well worth the efforts!  Thank goodness for medical miracles– and for loving, patient baby sitters, too!

Published in: on November 15, 2012 at 10:03 am  Comments (7)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ A Perfect Pair…

A  few weeks back, my daughter began keeping an eleven month old baby, named Alex.   However, Alex wasn’t a typical eleven month old baby, because  he was born three months early, weighing a pound and six ounces.

You may remember me telling you how small he was–still wearing o-3 months sized clothing, and what a hard time my daughter, Brandy, was having getting him to eat and drink.

Getting Alex to eat and drink is still a big issue, but Brandy is patient and persistent!  Alex will only take his bottle while he is asleep, and even then, it’s a long process!  Many days she successfully gets all three four-ounce bottles into Alex, but some days she does not.  Some days he will eat, only to throw everything back up.

Feeding Alex baby food is also an “adventure”.  He’s having trouble with textures, and he has a strong gagging reflex.  Everything makes him cough and gag.  Brandy says, “thank goodness for those large bibs with pockets at the bottom.”  Brandy recently taught little Alex to sit in a high chair while having his meals–a first for him.

Despite all of these feeding issues, Brandy’s diligence is paying off because little Alex is growing!  He recently moved up to a size six months clothing!  We weighed him the other day, and he weighs 13 lbs, 4 oz.  A few days earlier, he’d weighed in at 13 lbs, even!

The past two weeks have been a little “trying” because little Alex is finally cutting his first teeth!  Two bottom ones have recently appeared, and two top ones are on the horizon.  Yay, baby Alex now has some teeth.

The little fellow turned one a couple of weeks ago, and celebrated with a big birthday party.  Brandy said he would have nothing to do with his birthday cupcake.  In fact, it made him gag.

Alex wears tiny hearing aids in his tiny ears, but we don’t really think Alex can hear much, if anything.  Loud noises don’t seem to affect him at all, but lack of hearing hasn’t slowed Alex down from anything other than talking.

He’s now crawling at “break-neck” speed, in fact we’ve nicknamed him “Speedy”! Alex is, also, walking holding onto the furniture.  He’ll be walking one of these days before long!

The other day Alex did something so totally funny.  He was on his hands and knees, and suddenly he stuck one leg straight out behind him–like he was doing an exercise move–something he’d seen Brandy’s daughter doing!  I cracked up!

I now call my daughter “the baby whisperer” because she’s made so much progress with Alex.  She’s truly amazing with her patience and persistence, and Alex is just blossoming under her care and guidance.  It makes me proud for both of them.

Published in: on February 23, 2012 at 9:04 am  Comments (10)  
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Six Word Saturday…October 1

Happy Birthday to a wonderful daughter!

Published in: on October 1, 2011 at 8:54 am  Comments (7)  
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A Winner and A Wipeout…

After an entire month of hosting  my blogiversary giveaway, I’m happy to announce that I have a winner!!!  The winning number was # 11, and was chosen by Random.org.

Congratulations, to Vicki from The Tapestry of Life!  Vicki is one of my newest blog friends that I met through Java’s blog hops.  As soon as I hear from Vicki, I’ll be getting her package in the mail!  Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to enter.  This concludes the “winner” part of this post, now for the “wipe out” part…

My daughter waited over 2 months to get in to see a rheumatologist, after being referred  by her primary care physician.  Yesterday was “the day”.   Her husband wasn’t able to go along, due to work commitments, so I went along with her.  We left at eight in the morning!

We weren’t sure where the office was, since it’s a different doctor than the one I go to.  Brandy’s husband had drawn us an excellent map to show us where to go, and we drove straight to the place without any problems, believe it or not!  Our first clue should’ve been that the doctor’s office is located in “a bank building”…the second clue should’ve been when we opened the door to the doctor’s office to find that we were the only people there–thirty minutes before the scheduled appointment…the third clue should’ve been when Brandy barely had time to sit down before she was called back to the exam room…Are you beginning to “feel” it???

The entire appointment was a waste of time!  Apparently, this doctor hasn’t been practicing rheumatology for very long, and he’s still a “textbook” doctor…he hasn’t learned how to “think outside of the box”.  Nothing about my daughter is “textbook”, after all, she has a “medical mystery mom”!  This doctor went on to say that he thinks all of Brandy’s abnormal test results are stemming from something else other than  autoimmune disease, so he promptly did an exam, did a little more blood work, then took her money, and we were out the door–before it was even her scheduled appointment time!!!  Brandy and I were shocked and very disappointed, to say the least.  We were hoping for some different answers, and some relief!  We don’t buy his theory.  I don’t know what the next step is… we’re still trying to process yesterday’s experience!  One thing for sure, as much as I hate the two-three hour wait, and the ridiculous fees that he charges,  my own rheumatologist is looking better and better after yesterday!

At least the day wasn’t a total “wipeout”…After my daughter and I left the doctor’s office, we had almost an entire day ahead of us (since her appointment went so quickly)!  We spent most of it in Party City and Michaels…Preparations for Brad and Jennifer’s rehearsal dinner are driving me crazy!  I’m a little bit of a “crazy, planning, perfectionist fool” when I have to host a party or a meal.  Details drive me insane.  I’ve opted to do the rehearsal dinner myself in the interest of saving money.  After purchasing those fancy plastic plates, silverware,  cups, and napkins–I’m not so sure about saving money anymore…

Little by little, bit by bit, I am getting the details of the rehearsal dinner worked out.  I make a decision, then change my mind.  One minute I’m sure about something, the next minute I’m not…If I could clone myself for a week, it would solve a lot of my problems!   If all else fails, there’s always hotdogs and chips, right?

Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 9:16 am  Comments (8)  
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Think Back Thursday…Dancing Days

Watching our granddaughter, Madison, participating in activities with her dance class last weekend, took me back to another time and place in my life.  Watching my daughter scurrying around, doing all of the preparations reminded me of myself about twenty-seven years ago.  Seeing Madison participate in her first parade, reminded me of when my own children participated in their first parades. 

Later that day, on Saturday afternoon, we went to “The Roundup” to watch Madison dance for the first time.  The first little group of the tiniest dancers came up on stage to perform their very first dance for the public.  The place was hot and crowded with scores of parents, grandparents, and other on-lookers. 

The tiny dancers were simply adorable.  They were dressed in red and black, like little lady bugs, complete with little bobbing antennas on their little heads.  A few seconds into their dance, I looked on the back row of dancers, and saw this…

and the sight of this little girl really took me back in time!  This scene looked very familiar to me.  I’d seen it before!

The year was 1983, and I was the mother of two–a five-year-old, and a one-year-old.  It was the month of May, and our family was at “The Sweet Onion Festival” preparing to watch our little daughter dance in public for the first time…

We’d already participated in the parade, rushed to get dressed, and fought our way through the crowds to get to the stage at the back of the festival–with our two children in tow!  I can still see Brandy dressed in her adorable red and white striped costume.  I can still see scores of parents, grandparents, and on-lookers all sitting and standing around waiting to watch the show…

Soon it came time for Brandy’s class to perform their little dance…but Brandy took one look at all of those people crowded around that concrete stage, waiting to watch the show, and she dug her heels in like a stubborn mule, and refused to move!  No amount of begging or pleading could convince her to even set foot on that stage!  Her hands went up to her face, and she looked exactly like the little girl in the photo above.  So we went home–without dancing.

It just so happened that Brandy’s dance recital was held about two weeks after that incident at “The Sweet Onion Festival”.  My husband and I discussed it ahead of time, and came up with a plan that we hoped would work.  It took a little backstage persuasion from my husband.  He did something he rarely did, he threatened to spank her.  Brandy went out on stage, and performed in the recital that night–not once, but twice! 

I realize that our backstage persuasion may be controversial to some, but Brandy was so proud of herself  after she danced in the recital!  She just needed a little  help to get her started, and we provided that help.  She went on to dance in many public performances in the years that followed, and actually danced a duet with her best friend in her final recital!  She never needed any kind of persuasion again.  It was a wonderful ending to a rather rocky beginning of Brandy’s dancing days!

I’ll be rooting for the little girl in the photo on recital night.  I hope she’ll be able to get a handle on her stage fright, and show us that pretty little face behind those hands!  I hope her story will have a wonderful ending, too.  If not, there’s always next year…

Published in: on March 17, 2011 at 9:38 am  Comments (3)  
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I Don’t Want To Go To School….

Brandy's first day of preschool in'82

Brandy's first day of preschool in'82

After the birth of my second child, I decided to enroll our daughter, Brandy, in a half day preschool program.  I based the decision to do this on the fact that Brandy had no playmates and school was a good place to find some.  I was also looking forward to having three hours a day to spend alone with the new baby.  It’s not always easy to divide yourself into two different directions…

Brandy started to school and it was the best thing that we ever did for her.    She learned a lot that year and seemed to enjoy herself.  Since she  missed the cutoff date for kindergarten enrollment the following year, we re-enrolled her for preschool with the same teacher.

The second year of school progressed fine until the last six weeks of school, when something happened at church that ultimately affected Brandy at school.

The children of the church were putting on a program for the church.  Brandy had a little part in the program.  She messed up on her part.  I think she walked the wrong way or something like that.  The church laughed as people sometimes do.  Brandy got embarrassed and cried on stage.  It was after that experience that things went downhill…

We had no idea that the church program had affected Brandy so deeply and thought nothing of it.  The following Monday Brandy began to cry and tell us that she didn’t want to go to school.  She couldn’t give us a reason why.  She’d always enjoyed school before.  At first we thought that she just didn’t feel well.

The next day was the same scenario, and the next.  Neither the teacher nor I had any idea what the problem was.  The situation grew worse.  Brandy would start crying in the evenings as the sun would start to set.  She would start worrying about having to go to school the next day, crying, and saying “I don’t want to go to school.”    Sometimes she made herself so upset that she would throw up.  I was a very worried and frustrated mom.  Many times I took Brandy to school, walked her to the door, left her crying,  and went back to the car and cried myself.  Eventually, during this awful time, my husband and I put two and two together and decided that the embarrassing experience at the church had affected Brandy deeply  and made her want to retreat and stay home– in her “safe place”.  Nothing helped, we talked with her daily, and sometimes I lost my patience.  Eventually school got out for the summer and that solved the problem.  I’ve never been so glad to see summer in my life!

My husband and I spent the whole summer worrying about school in the fall, but by then, whatever Brandy had been going through was over–Praise the Lord!  She had a fabulous kindergarten year…except for P.E., but that’s a story for another time!

Published in: on July 17, 2009 at 4:33 am  Comments (2)  
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Thumb sucking and hair rolling

100_0710In searching through my old photos of Brandy I found this one that reminded me of a couple of things that I didn’t mention before.  The first thing is the fact that Brandy learned to suck her thumb when she was somewhere around 2-3 months old. 

Once she started doing that, she was a much better baby!  She could comfort herself when she got upset.  In fact, that thumb continued to bring her comfort until she was about 7 years old…

The down side of thumb sucking was the effect that it had on Brandy’s teeth, but that’s what braces were made for, and she eventually wore some!

The other interesting thing was Brandy’s hair.  She was born with a head full of it and none of it ever fell out!  It just got longer and was as straight as a board.  By the time she was 4 months old I was trimming it.  I guess  I am my mother’s daughter, because I thought Brandy’s hair needed to curl. ( my mama always gave me those horrid home perms)  I didn’t ever subject Brandy to a permanent, but I used to roll her hair on tiny pink sponge rollers when she was a baby.  She was so cute with those rollers and she didn’t seem to mind them.

Brandy's daughter

Brandy's daughter

Now that Brandy’s grown up and has a daughter of her own, sometimes I roll my grandaughter’s hair on tiny sponge rollers.  She’s not quite the good sport  that her mama was, but I can usually talk her into playing “beauty shop” with MiMi!  Oh, and by the way, Madison sucks her first two fingers–and loves it, just as much as her mama loved her thumb…

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Lot of Firsts…

Brandy, the day after coming home

Brandy, the day after coming home

Brandy’s birth was the first time that I had ever been a patient in a hospital.  I’d never had an IV or an enema or any of the other stuff that they used to do to expectant mothers back then.  What an experience!

Brandy’s birth also marked the first time that Ed and I spent the night apart since we’d been married, almost 5 and 1/2 years.  I hated that so much!  He went home to get a little rest and to borrow his mama’s car to bring us home in because our car didn’t have air conditioning.

I hate to admit it, but I didn’t bond instantly with my new baby girl.  Part of it was trying to over the ordeal of her birth, while the other part of it was the fact that I was terrified of her!  I’d never held a newborn before and it didn’t feel natural.  I was afraid I’d hurt her.  I was too afraid to even change her diaper.

Ed, on the other hand, was a “natural”.  He’d worked with small babies for several years, doing x-rays on them, and he knew she wouldn’t break.  He was so comfortable handling her, that he did the diaper changing and getting her dressed for the first few days.  Ed stayed home with us for 2 weeks and boy  was I nervous the first day that he went back to work and I was on my own!

I was bonding with Brandy by then, but more problems were beginning.  She was suffering with constipation and had to have 2 formula changes before we found one that she tolerated well.  It happened to be that smelly old soy formula!   Of course, like most babies with formula problems–Brandy was a spitter!  She spit up all of the time!  Then she developed colic…she’d cry from about 5 in the evening until around 9 at night–every day!  We tried everything to soothe her, but nothing really worked.  She did like the infant swing and spent a lot of time in it.  If she went to sleep while swinging–we didn’t dare wake her!  What little relief we got came from the swing.

4 wks old and asleep in the swing

4 wks old and asleep in the swing

  

Brandy was also a nervous baby.  She was jumpy and scared of everything! The only men that she would tolerate was Ed and his daddy.  She didn’t adjust to change very well.  It was difficult to go anywhere with her, just taking her out upset her.  

Trying to have her picture made was an ordeal!  The minute I’d put her down she would start to scream.  Of course, we lived through all of this and as Brandy grew older she grew out of a lot of her quirks.

4 mths old and still swinging

4 mths old and still swinging

Despite a rough beginning, Brandy was actually a good child.  She was very attached to me, and didn’t like to be very far away from me, but part of that was my own fault because I was a very protective mother. 

I rarely had to spank Brandy.  Usually a stern look or a harsh “No” would stop her in her tracks.  She always had a strong sense of right and wrong and always wanted to do the right thing–she’s still that way today. 

Actually the worst thing that I can recall Brandy doing as a small child is stealing candy from the candy dish and eating it behind the couch!  She did get in trouble for that, but now, years later, that seems like such a petty thing…little did I know the things I had in store for me– from her two younger brothers!

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Brandy Denise arrives….

The last day of September, 1978 found Ed and his daddy installing two gas heaters in our new home addition.  It found me and Ed’ s mama shopping!  The idea was to get me to walk!  The baby was now 10 days overdue.

I didn’t think much about it at the time, but all day I’d had a little bit of something going on “down there”.  It didn’t occur to me that it could be amniotic fluid leaking out–until that afternoon when it hit me!  We’d already made one false alarm trip to the hospital and I didn’t want a repeat–so I  just waited…

We finally decided that maybe we should go to the hospital and get things checked out, even though I wasn’t having any pains to speak of.  We showered and left for the hospital late that afternoon.  Sure enough, it was fluid leakage and they put me in the hospital and induced labor that night.

I was in the same hospital that Ed worked in, and even though we hadn’t taken birthing classes, I’d read birthing books and practiced the breathing techniques.  Ed was used to medical stuff,  so they agreed to let him be with me during delivery. 

I didn’t have a classic labor and delivery.  It only took me a few hours to fully dilate, but the baby’s head was high in my pelvis and I couldn’t get it to drop down like it should.  I ended up having a high forceps delivery with no medication.  Ed didn’t get to be with me because it wasn’t a normal delivery.  That was the most excruciating pain I hope that I ever have to feel in my life!  It felt like they were literally tearing my insides out–which they were in a sense.  I screamed because I couldn’t help it.  I cried but had no tears.  I know what it must feel like to be tortured to death.  I was strapped down and at the mercy of the doctor–not my doctor–and he showed no mercy!  He went up in there with those huge tongs and dragged my baby out!

At 5:22 in the morning, Brandy Denise made her entrance(against her will) into this  world.  She weighed 8 pounds and was 19 inches long.  She had a head full of black hair.  She looked like a little oriental baby to me.  She had a mark on one cheek from the forceps, but thank the good Lord, she was perfect other than that.

Welcome to the world, Brandy

Welcome to the world, Brandy

I, on the other hand, looked and felt as if I’d been hit by a train!  Every muscle in my body was sore, my throat was sore, and my hair looked like the rats had nested in it because I had writhed around in pain for so long.  My own husband didn’t even recognize me laying on a stretcher in the hall!

Of course to further complicate matters, I had to take antibiotics after the birth because my water had been broken for over 24 hours before the birth.  That kept me from being able to breast feed for 3 days.  By then, Brandy was hooked on the bottle and wouldn’t take the breast, so I ended up with engorged breasts the size of basketballs!  It’s amazing the things some women have to endure to become a mother!  It’s a wonder that we even survive!

Published in: on June 20, 2009 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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